September 8, 2009

Pressure on top

The experienced batsmen need to stand up and be counted if Sri Lanka are to get out of their one-day rut
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The last two seasons have been good for us in Test cricket, and it shows in how we have moved up to the No. 2 spot. But we now move into an area of our game that has caused us concern in recent times and needs more focus.

Over the last year, we have been patchy and inconsistent in ODIs. That's the best way to put it. We have won matches, but at the same time we have lost many. Our No. 7 rank in the ICC ratings is a fair indicator of where we stand. When a team is not consistent and ruthless - we beat Pakistan 3-2, we probably should have beaten them by a bigger margin after having won the first three - it's difficult to move up the rankings.

Even at home we have won six and lost nine matches in the last year. We have had to bat under the lights at the R Premadasa Stadium more often than we would have liked - seven out of nine matches - but that can't be an excuse. A 6-9 is not a great performance at home. You do want to dominate at home and win everything. We haven't done that. As a team we need to take responsibility and fix areas that need to be fixed.

One of those, a very important one, is the top-order batting. Between me, Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya, we have only two centuries in the last year. The top order has to get the runs. We get to bat the most overs, and it's our responsibility to get the big scores and bat through the innings. We have had a few bad tours individually. During the first half of the year I wasn't doing well in one-day cricket, then Jayasuriya went through a bit of a lean period. Sangakkara has held on for a while, but it is disappointing that we haven't got the big hundreds.

It's been difficult for the youngsters coming in. Yes, they have taken their time. Yes, they haven't gone in and done really well, but we have to believe in them and have a lot of faith in their ability. They will soon gain experience and understand their games better.

To be fair to them, the combination in one-day cricket keeps changing, and they haven't got consistent runs. Chamara Kapugedera has been tested for quite some time, and now he has begun to get a regular place in the side. That's a comfortable position for him to be in. Thilina Kandamby has done pretty well in the A team, and now he too is getting a longer run in the senior team. Then there is Angelo Mathews coming up. We want them to have enough experience under their belts before we go into the 2011 World Cup. And while they wait to become fixtures in the XI, they have an inspiration not far away. Tillakaratne Dilshan got limited opportunities in the initial parts of his career, and spent a lot of time at Nos. 6 or 7. But he made those chances count. Dilshan is a different character. The way he bats, the amount of confidence he has in himself, is amazing. That is to do with the attitude, and that's something we try to encourage with these guys too - carry a lot of confidence. We would love Mathews to be that guy at No. 6 or 7. If he can be that player, a lot of our problems can be solved.

Our No. 7 rank in the ICC ratings is a fair indicator of where we stand. When a team is not consistent and ruthless, it's difficult to move up the rankings

But much of it comes down to the top order, where one of the top four has to bat through. The middle order has to handle things better in certain situations.

The positive for us has been our bowling, which has been consistent and has allowed us to use well the variations we have at our disposal.

A crucial area is our fielding, which hasn't been the greatest in the last six months, and that's something we are working hard at. We need to take those half-chances and make the close run-outs.

It is a bit frustrating that we have done so well in Tests and yet struggled in the shorter form. It's all about the mindset and approach. In Test cricket you have the time to play yourself in, settle in and go about things. One-day cricket is all about handling different situations. And we haven't handled those situations properly.

That said, we need to be confident. We need to remember that we won our last one-day series, against Pakistan, which is a fairly good opposition. In between we may have lost three Twenty20s, but it's a different game. In Twenty20, if you make a mistake, it's difficult for you to come back, which is what we did against Pakistan and New Zealand. The 50-over game is completely different. Even if you make a slight error, there is plenty of time to come back.

The approach is going to be totally different, and we will go in confidently despite the presence of strong opposition in the tri-series. We have realised over the last one-and-a-half months that New Zealand are a tough side, and India of course are the No. 2 side in the world, trying to move on to No. 1. This should be fairly good preparation for the Champions Trophy, where we hope to rediscover our knack of getting it together in big tournaments.

Former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene is the country's leading Test run-scorer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • DCDC on September 11, 2009, 22:41 GMT

    First , looking at this article, Mahela still thinks as he is the captain. He should realize he is not the captain but to deliver his job just concentrating on his batting. It's not decent to say in between the lines that Santh must make a decision about himself. In any angle Sanath is fit to play 2011 WC. Perhaps not as a regular opener, may be occasional opener and number 6 or 7 batsmen in the team. Reason for that is he is still capable of contributing big time to the team and mainly we do not have a good finisher at the end of the innings. A place in the national team is never to award to a youngster but to earn by a player. Selectors have introduced and tried more than 20 new players in the past two years but just one managed to score a 50.( Mathews). If Sangakara can assure Sanath that ' don't worry you are in the team until 2011 , all I need is just give your best game, ' he may get better results than saying ' I can't help if you don't perform in the next game' .

  • polsambol on September 11, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    Shantiratnam....please, both Tharanga and Warnapura arn't fit for the top spot. Has to be either Udawatte or Kapu for now. Tharanga just continues to fail every time he goes out there. Warnapura should only be there for TEST selections.

  • Agnar on September 11, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    I disagree with SHANTIRATNAM. A player should not be discriminated based on his age. Selection, even for senior players with high averages, must be completely based on performance. Batting and bowling averages is just an indication of players ability. It does not measure how well player applies at the moment, his current physical and mental condition, or whether he is genuinely thinking about the team. I think selectors should find a way to measure player's form (his performance in recently completed matches). Selection must be based on two sets of numbers: overall averages and recent averages. If Sanath can score 30 runs per game and take take 2 wickets per game with a decent average while fielding well until he is 50 years old and he wants to play, shouldn't he be playing for Sri Lanka?

  • Jaamee on September 11, 2009, 12:22 GMT

    Every one has the right to express his or her point of view. Some one has talked about WARNAPURA and UPUL THRANGA! I don't think so they have a solid and opening batsman's technique. There footwork is quite limited and at fast tracks they cant move their feet up to the mark. Santah has the quality to play at any kind of track with great zeal and command. He is a qualitative all rounder. He should play until his fitness allows him.

  • SHANTIRATNAM on September 11, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    The question is how ever capable Sanath is, do we need to have a player who has already hit 40? What's the cost of having Sanath knowing he will not be playing after two more years max. He might score a hundred in the next match, but the question is how many winning knocks he can play. What is it that he has not done for Sri Lanka cricket which is still holding him from retirenment. We must insert Upul Tharanga and give him 12 months to perform and come to speed. We need to insert Warnapura as the alternative choice.

  • stupid_comments on September 11, 2009, 4:04 GMT

    There's no alternative player to take on Sanath's role as a devastating batsman, yes Dilshan??? No I don think he can continue the same form for a longer period, Sanath should remain in the game until he decides to quit, when he comes to open the innings evbdy's expecting him to make a quick hundred but if he fails yes we r disappointed and looking to find players who can fit in his role but who is there to replace em? Can these strong looking players even hit a six without having to sweat that much??

  • Jaamee on September 10, 2009, 13:03 GMT

    Good review Mahela! I am not impressed by some of the above mentioned comments about SANATH! I think he is keeping himself super fit for the game. If he is having a bad patch in batting then what? He is picking up couple of important wickets and by the way look at the way how he is fielding. He needs to review his pull short and he should concentrate on his batting if he wants to prolong his career. No doubt he is not having many years for that. But he is a true sportsman.

  • ccclt99999 on September 9, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    Please go and take a very careful look at Mahela's and even Sanga's ODI records - Mahela averages less than Jaya and Sanga averages only few runs higher with both having very poor strike rates. These are supposed to be the two most experienced and thus should be performing better - this and the lack of performing youngsters is the real reason that Jaya is still playing. Jaya is highly inconsistent but will come off every now and then and will definitely win more games than Mahela even though he is over 40. He also contributes wiuth the ball and has still been taking wickets. One cannot count on Mahela to win a high pressure game with high run rate. Mahela was very determined to push Jaya out while he was captain and is talking as if SL's bad form is mainly due to Jaya - how about we drop Mahela from ODIs given the facts. Yes Jaya is well past his best but is there anyone out there apart from Dilshan (who is having a purple patch right now) who is truly better or performing better?

  • Cannuck on September 9, 2009, 16:54 GMT

    I think SL ODI batting order should not be a set one. It should be a fluid one with the ability to move a few players around depending on the situation. I don't know if Dillly is a good ODI opener. He is awesome in 20/20 but he needs to tone it down a bit, as ODI is a different form with a bit more time to play. If he can do that then he should open with a left hander like Upul Tharanga. If not he can come in a lower order as he did before, & Tharanga can open with Udawatte/Chandimal combo. If we lose an opener quickly within the first 5-7 overs, MJ should drop a spot & someone like Samaraweera should come in to stabalize & take the pressure off from MJ & Sanga. If the openers give a good stand MJ & Sanga can come in & freely play their shots, followed by Kapu/Samaraweera. Then it's Mathews/Maharoof. This leaves us with spots for 4 bowlers, 2 of whom can also bat. Kulasekara & Thushara. That's only my opinion, & I am not an expert.

  • Cannuck on September 9, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    Looks like many of U agree that Sanath's time is up. It is something lot of us knew for a while. Sana is the best we've had as an opener in ODI & his service, value HAS been immense. But like most SL players he doesn't know when to quit.. when he's on top! If he's dropped, he runs to politicians who intervene & get him in. He scores a century & then set for another 20+ games to fail. Fans & Sana dream of rejuvenating his glory days, but forget father time takes a toll on all of us. He may be physically fit, but the mental aspect, confidence, decisions do get effected. Ironically MJ knew this, but was accused 4 not backing seniors (Sana & Co) when he was the skipper. But now it's Sanga's burden & MJ suddenly looks like a genius to some of U! However I can guarantee that MJ or even Sanga won't hang around when their time's up. No one will have to bring "dummala" to get rid of them! They are both class acts all the way!

  • DCDC on September 11, 2009, 22:41 GMT

    First , looking at this article, Mahela still thinks as he is the captain. He should realize he is not the captain but to deliver his job just concentrating on his batting. It's not decent to say in between the lines that Santh must make a decision about himself. In any angle Sanath is fit to play 2011 WC. Perhaps not as a regular opener, may be occasional opener and number 6 or 7 batsmen in the team. Reason for that is he is still capable of contributing big time to the team and mainly we do not have a good finisher at the end of the innings. A place in the national team is never to award to a youngster but to earn by a player. Selectors have introduced and tried more than 20 new players in the past two years but just one managed to score a 50.( Mathews). If Sangakara can assure Sanath that ' don't worry you are in the team until 2011 , all I need is just give your best game, ' he may get better results than saying ' I can't help if you don't perform in the next game' .

  • polsambol on September 11, 2009, 13:25 GMT

    Shantiratnam....please, both Tharanga and Warnapura arn't fit for the top spot. Has to be either Udawatte or Kapu for now. Tharanga just continues to fail every time he goes out there. Warnapura should only be there for TEST selections.

  • Agnar on September 11, 2009, 13:22 GMT

    I disagree with SHANTIRATNAM. A player should not be discriminated based on his age. Selection, even for senior players with high averages, must be completely based on performance. Batting and bowling averages is just an indication of players ability. It does not measure how well player applies at the moment, his current physical and mental condition, or whether he is genuinely thinking about the team. I think selectors should find a way to measure player's form (his performance in recently completed matches). Selection must be based on two sets of numbers: overall averages and recent averages. If Sanath can score 30 runs per game and take take 2 wickets per game with a decent average while fielding well until he is 50 years old and he wants to play, shouldn't he be playing for Sri Lanka?

  • Jaamee on September 11, 2009, 12:22 GMT

    Every one has the right to express his or her point of view. Some one has talked about WARNAPURA and UPUL THRANGA! I don't think so they have a solid and opening batsman's technique. There footwork is quite limited and at fast tracks they cant move their feet up to the mark. Santah has the quality to play at any kind of track with great zeal and command. He is a qualitative all rounder. He should play until his fitness allows him.

  • SHANTIRATNAM on September 11, 2009, 5:49 GMT

    The question is how ever capable Sanath is, do we need to have a player who has already hit 40? What's the cost of having Sanath knowing he will not be playing after two more years max. He might score a hundred in the next match, but the question is how many winning knocks he can play. What is it that he has not done for Sri Lanka cricket which is still holding him from retirenment. We must insert Upul Tharanga and give him 12 months to perform and come to speed. We need to insert Warnapura as the alternative choice.

  • stupid_comments on September 11, 2009, 4:04 GMT

    There's no alternative player to take on Sanath's role as a devastating batsman, yes Dilshan??? No I don think he can continue the same form for a longer period, Sanath should remain in the game until he decides to quit, when he comes to open the innings evbdy's expecting him to make a quick hundred but if he fails yes we r disappointed and looking to find players who can fit in his role but who is there to replace em? Can these strong looking players even hit a six without having to sweat that much??

  • Jaamee on September 10, 2009, 13:03 GMT

    Good review Mahela! I am not impressed by some of the above mentioned comments about SANATH! I think he is keeping himself super fit for the game. If he is having a bad patch in batting then what? He is picking up couple of important wickets and by the way look at the way how he is fielding. He needs to review his pull short and he should concentrate on his batting if he wants to prolong his career. No doubt he is not having many years for that. But he is a true sportsman.

  • ccclt99999 on September 9, 2009, 22:55 GMT

    Please go and take a very careful look at Mahela's and even Sanga's ODI records - Mahela averages less than Jaya and Sanga averages only few runs higher with both having very poor strike rates. These are supposed to be the two most experienced and thus should be performing better - this and the lack of performing youngsters is the real reason that Jaya is still playing. Jaya is highly inconsistent but will come off every now and then and will definitely win more games than Mahela even though he is over 40. He also contributes wiuth the ball and has still been taking wickets. One cannot count on Mahela to win a high pressure game with high run rate. Mahela was very determined to push Jaya out while he was captain and is talking as if SL's bad form is mainly due to Jaya - how about we drop Mahela from ODIs given the facts. Yes Jaya is well past his best but is there anyone out there apart from Dilshan (who is having a purple patch right now) who is truly better or performing better?

  • Cannuck on September 9, 2009, 16:54 GMT

    I think SL ODI batting order should not be a set one. It should be a fluid one with the ability to move a few players around depending on the situation. I don't know if Dillly is a good ODI opener. He is awesome in 20/20 but he needs to tone it down a bit, as ODI is a different form with a bit more time to play. If he can do that then he should open with a left hander like Upul Tharanga. If not he can come in a lower order as he did before, & Tharanga can open with Udawatte/Chandimal combo. If we lose an opener quickly within the first 5-7 overs, MJ should drop a spot & someone like Samaraweera should come in to stabalize & take the pressure off from MJ & Sanga. If the openers give a good stand MJ & Sanga can come in & freely play their shots, followed by Kapu/Samaraweera. Then it's Mathews/Maharoof. This leaves us with spots for 4 bowlers, 2 of whom can also bat. Kulasekara & Thushara. That's only my opinion, & I am not an expert.

  • Cannuck on September 9, 2009, 16:33 GMT

    Looks like many of U agree that Sanath's time is up. It is something lot of us knew for a while. Sana is the best we've had as an opener in ODI & his service, value HAS been immense. But like most SL players he doesn't know when to quit.. when he's on top! If he's dropped, he runs to politicians who intervene & get him in. He scores a century & then set for another 20+ games to fail. Fans & Sana dream of rejuvenating his glory days, but forget father time takes a toll on all of us. He may be physically fit, but the mental aspect, confidence, decisions do get effected. Ironically MJ knew this, but was accused 4 not backing seniors (Sana & Co) when he was the skipper. But now it's Sanga's burden & MJ suddenly looks like a genius to some of U! However I can guarantee that MJ or even Sanga won't hang around when their time's up. No one will have to bring "dummala" to get rid of them! They are both class acts all the way!

  • bingi123 on September 9, 2009, 13:30 GMT

    It is very obvious that SL do not play best cricket in the middle order. Thanks to sana ,ara,arjuna we had a good past but now we do not have an anchor in the middle order. sanga & mahela are excellent crickers but they bat at 3 & 4 does not add experieance when it matters. So, hope kapugedara is a young prospect for the future that we need to utilize in a careful manner. If he bats at no-3 until he gets matured and builds confidence on himself it would sort out most of the in balances in the composition of the team. sanga should come at no-5 & mahela at 4. It seems Mathews is turning out to be our best no 7 batsman bcose he is a gutsy player and he can ball fairly a good 5-6 overs in ODIs. Biggest issue is openers (dilshan is alright) but we need some like Chandimal for the futhre.

    I suggest dilshan,(chandimal/udawatta),kapu,mahela,sanga,(samaraweera/kanda),angelo,(kulasekara/maharoof),mirando,malinga,(murali/mendis)

  • ultimate stars on September 9, 2009, 11:24 GMT

    When dilshan opens kandamby or udawatte can open with him, jayawardane or sanga at 3 or 5, jayasuriya or samaraweera 4 or 6,at 7 mattews, and then on no problem for srilankans they ve many best bowlers at the moment in team randomly or form wise they can pick the rest 4. Jayasuriya is very useful player at all stage at any position he can show his experience.So sending him at 4 or 6 will give lankans chance to produce a future opener for their team when well improved dilshan opens along with him. Their bowling is very strong and if they can produce a valuable opening pair like jayasuriya and atapattu or kalu then its the bast team. And middle order wont be a worry as long as they have Samaraweera and Mattews in team. Bringing back Maharoof to team will add more stabily with both bat and ball.

  • achi82000 on September 9, 2009, 10:10 GMT

    I agree with Agnar .Sanath should bat at no 5 or 6.That gives younger guys to bat around him.And now we are struggling to hit 6s in last 10 overs.I don't remember a match we scored 100+ in last 10overs despite of having 6,7 wickets in hand.This option will solve that problem too...

  • polsambol on September 9, 2009, 1:49 GMT

    By 2011 WC, Sanath will be 42. If we continues to play like he's playing right now, we are going to be missing out on future openers for SL. Sanath should seriously re-think his role in the ODI squad. His venture into getting another shot at another WC means missed opportunities for youngsters like him. The greats always leave on top. Like haliastur said, we need firing openers and then let experienced players play their role in anchoring down in the middle. Have wickets in hand towards the end of the game. My thoughts on the 11. 1.Dilshan 2.Udawatte 3.Kapu 4.Mahela 5.Sanga 6.Thilan 7. Mathews 8.Thushara 9.Kulasekera 10.Malinga 11.Murali. And now I'm starting to miss Sana as a PT bowler and a good fielder.

  • Daiya on September 8, 2009, 22:46 GMT

    I think that SL need to look at a few things. They should play Chamara Kapu and have him slot between Mahela and Sanga. In the games he played he batted lower down the order which put imense pressure on him. We all know he is talented and perhaps if he slots in between the experienced duo he will gain some much needed temprament. That way he will bat with a senior player more often than not. It is always helpful for a youngster in such situations. Another problem area is the opening slot.

    In the recent past we ve seen Sanath try to play the waiting game, perhaps because of the pressure on him to play for his place or perhaps because its in the back of his mind that a middle order collapse is more than likely. Either way he should just play his natural game and hit the ball to oblivian from the word go. If this is his mindset it is more likely that he will get off to a rapid start. Or SL should look to drop him down the order and use the batting power play when he is in the middle.

  • JoeDeS on September 8, 2009, 19:21 GMT

    Thank you Sanath but it's time to say 'good bye'.

    If SL ranking in ODI's at 7th is to come up to a test level ranking (2nd) the infusion of young blood at the expense of the old is obvious. Chandimal is a good option to open with Dilshan not Udawatte as we cannot have 'a young and cocky' type with the attacking Dilshan. Chandimal can keep wickets too thereby providing Sangakkara to concentrate on the dual task of captaining and batting. The rest of the guys who formed the winning team against NZ today( 8/9) are a suitable combination.

  • Jasentuliyana on September 8, 2009, 19:18 GMT

    Excellent review. Well done in the Tests. No reason to panic concerning ODIs when you consider that you lost the toss in the trwo games you lost to Pakistan & in the T-20s. NZ found out the value of the toss last night but should find a way to to give equal opportunity to both sides at RPS. Soon you got to find an opener who is consistant & the task is easier as Dilshan has taken over the role of Sanath. Until then, one has to value Sanath's bowling & fielding skills as well. Jasentuliyana.

  • Philip_Gnana on September 8, 2009, 18:54 GMT

    SL Cricket should looking forward. We should have replaced Sanath by now. By sticking with him we are depriving development of the youngsters. Udawatta by now should have had enough exposure if we had introduced him earlier on. Tharanga, why did we not boost his confidence by giving him a run? Kpaugedera too should have been there. It would have help us on the longer run. Maharoof is being overlooked.. but that can be balanced by the introduction of Mathews. Maharoof is too good a player to be sidelined. Mahela has been clear in his thoughts and forthright in his views. We need to take a long term view. Sanath to stick with the T20 format only... Philip Gnana, New Malden, Surrey

  • Agnar on September 8, 2009, 17:38 GMT

    Sanath is a tough call now. I think Sanath should be batting at Number 5 or 6 now. Reasons: 1. He is a good technician and he can adopt to play slower. 2. SL should solve opening and top order problem and that means we have to give new guys more turns. 3. Sanath often contributes with the ball and fielding (more often than with the bat now) even though he has not been who he was in the past with the bat. 4. His experience is valuable to the team since he still is in good shape and enthusiastic. Above are the reasons and perhaps the only way SL can afford to keep him in one day side. One could argue, considering the number of batsman waiting for a chance, to encourage Sanath to retire. I think SL should give him a chance at above role.

  • SJMSA on September 8, 2009, 16:37 GMT

    I agree with the comments by haliastur and chandau. Sri Lanka needs to try out its youth at the top of the order. No. 6 or 7 is no place for a young batsman to earn their spot. With Dilshan as one opener, we should have Udawatte, Kapugedera or someone else as the other opener. Sanath should drop down the order where it might be easier on him if he doesn't have to face the new ball, but I have serious doubts about his ability to hang around till 2011 - he should stick to T20.

    If Sanath isn't in the team then no.3 should also be used to blood a new batsman. Mahela, Kumar, Thilan and Mathews at 4-7 gives the batting order more of a backbone. Mathews may be young but he won't feel as much pressure since he can always contribute with the ball even if he fails with the bat. We're pretty close to having a real dominating team, we just need two batsman to prove themselves - either Sanath regaining form or new guys. Actually we have a glut of fast bowlers - total reversal from the mid 90s.

  • Sajahan on September 8, 2009, 13:44 GMT

    Well Said Jaya... We want our team always do the best.. It is common in sport to WIN/LOSE.. but our team is losing like dissapointing all the fance at once. We love Sana as our hero.. we would love to keep that in our memory. It is better to replace some young tallents to gain experience to prepare them for WC 2011. As Mohammed Ali said at 40 it is better to retair... Also Sanga and Mahela to produce some big scores time to time surely not expecting in all the matches..

  • randikaayya on September 8, 2009, 13:14 GMT

    Couldn't agree more regarding the comments on Udawatte. Its disheartening to see him not getting the chance he richly deserves. Kapugedara putting undue pressure on himself doesn't help the teams cause. Giving Samaraweera a go in the middle order is the best decision I saw selectors make in years. bravo!

  • PantheraLeo on September 8, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    The problems of SL in the shorter form of the game has been long time coming. We've done well in patches (2007 WC), but, the inconsistency has resulted in even losing the fortress at home. I've always maintained (even while we were winning), that our problems stems from our failure to recognize &/or recreate the basics of team composition that made us World Champions in '96. Simply, we had experience at 6 & 7 (Roshan & Hashan), which allowed the best batsmen (Ara & Arjuna) to play their natural game. This, in turn, gave the top order (Sana & Kalu) a free rein. If they fired, great. If they failed we had Gura to stop the rut (not a natural selection for an ODI team now). Failing which, we had Ara & Arjuna to take us out. On rare occasions we had Roshan/Hashan getting us to safety. All this talk about "Stand up & get counted is fine". But, that "added pressure" has only ruined careers for newcomers at 6/7, curtailed natural game of Mahela & Sanga and put even more pressure on Openers.

  • jnanesh on September 8, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    Dear Selectors, I do not understand what sanath jayasurya doing there? still how many years he wants to be there, frankly too much headache for any captain and when you are going to give chance to youngsters to blossom ? big question for SLankan selectors. This is right time to bring new faces.look at ICC ranking SLanks position is No.7 but, still they (selectors) not learned thier mistake and time really running out. Fan

  • Charm78 on September 8, 2009, 11:40 GMT

    It's always good if you can practice your theoretical approach to the game. It's a proven fact that experience blends with new talent always produce excellent results. There shouldn't be any concern over Sanath's position in the team as he has got enough commitment and the ability to go on until he makes his own decision. What the top order batsman including you could do that try to make runs? Don't forget that world Cup 2011 is in subcontinent where his present makes an immense influence to the team's success. So leave Sanath alone for Cricket sake and help him to get over his poor run.

  • V.GOMES on September 8, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    I have one word for your question "Udawatte". Love to see Udawatte get a steady stint at the opening slot. Yes he is young and cocky,.. but sometime you need that kind of attitude and confidence. As far as his 'temperament' is concerned, I'm sure batting with you and Sanga could really make him mature up fast.

    Perfect future replacement for Sanath.

  • IanJF on September 8, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    I like the final word "Our knack of getting it together in big tournaments"... SL ranked No 2 in Tests and 7 in ODIs speaks of dominance & in-consistency in the same breath. Its high time to put all words/plans into solid limited overs action now. As for Sanath Jayasuriya, he will have to recall 2 decades of a legendary cricketing career to overcome this trot. He has done it before & he still can !!

  • Sampath_KCS on September 8, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    Very good comment by Mahela. Yes its after all the individuals decision. Sanath Has been a marvelous cricketer over the years for Srilanka ,who single handed won matches for the country. I saw recently that he's been named as the Best Ever ODI Cricketer by one of Wisden writers. Its true. He has revolutionized the world cricket with little Kalu & it has given a big boost for the game to get popular. After his arrival only we saw the emerging of aggressive batsmen like Gilcrists, Shewags, Peitersons & Macculums. We all love him & we all know that he is trying his best to give 100% to the team. But there are good times & bad times. If he had hit that shot he got out in the second T20 about 10 years ago the ball would have ended at Kettarama temple. His quick reflections are no more there.He has to understand the reality. His heart & mind says yes, but legs & hands don't move accordingly. He has to make a Glorious retirement until the selectors decide his destiny.

  • gamer007 on September 8, 2009, 4:37 GMT

    India will bring back sanath into form. That one match should be sufficient for him.

  • chandau on September 8, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    I think the batting order needs a change. Udawatte and Dilly to open with Mahela and Sanga following. Then Sanath and Angelo followed by Mahroof Murali Thushara / Nuwan Malinga and Mendis / Bandara. The lower middle order needs some hitting power so why not try Chintaka Jayasinghe / Dilhara Lokuhettige who also bowl medium. Need to look aa few players b4 the WC 2011, as the SA wickets are now more conducive to fast medium and spin as opposed to real fast a few seasons ago. Look at SA team that play 2 spinners now with Duminy as 3rd. ALSO may be we need to consider Zoysa again going by his performances for SSC in domestic scene. Dilhara Fernando blows hot & cold despite being one of the more experienced fastmen around. Where is Ishara Amarasinghe the other 140kmph bowler tho Prasad is nearly as quick, with some hitting ability.

  • amareshsl on September 8, 2009, 4:18 GMT

    Well said Mahela.We really appreciate your straight thought and your ideas.. But in fact we,the supporters really disappointed with Srilanka's ODI and T20 games in the past few months.In RPS we guys are really eager to watch our heroes to win..But that was not happening for long time..Every time we come their to cheer you you lost(in recent matches)..We don't really know what's really difficult to you guys to make it..Its your own ground..Normally we were good enough in home series against all the teams in the world..But nowadays its becoming not true. As you said the top order batsmen should put some scores on the board.In that case sana is bit slipping..But we hope he will be doing in the oncoming series..If he can reduce the pressure on him and if he can be little relaxed when he open the bat,then he will be blasting the balls..But he fails to be relax when he comes out for bat.. You seems okay nowadays..The way you batted in the T20 with Nz and Pakistan has improved the hope on u.

  • melayaraja on September 8, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    Dear Mahela, I agree Sanath Jayasuirya is going through lean patch for sometime now....but everyone knows that he can get back to form anytime. I hope he is there till 2011 WC. You guys tried replacing him earlier in your captaincy but everyone saw, what he did to your team after coming back. I strongly hope Sanath is firing in all cylinders this season. Kindly donot drop him for some junior cricketer doing well in your first class matches as it is not the same team without Sanath's presence (Ask Indian team if you have any doubt?).

    Elayaraja Muthuswamy

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  • melayaraja on September 8, 2009, 3:47 GMT

    Dear Mahela, I agree Sanath Jayasuirya is going through lean patch for sometime now....but everyone knows that he can get back to form anytime. I hope he is there till 2011 WC. You guys tried replacing him earlier in your captaincy but everyone saw, what he did to your team after coming back. I strongly hope Sanath is firing in all cylinders this season. Kindly donot drop him for some junior cricketer doing well in your first class matches as it is not the same team without Sanath's presence (Ask Indian team if you have any doubt?).

    Elayaraja Muthuswamy

  • amareshsl on September 8, 2009, 4:18 GMT

    Well said Mahela.We really appreciate your straight thought and your ideas.. But in fact we,the supporters really disappointed with Srilanka's ODI and T20 games in the past few months.In RPS we guys are really eager to watch our heroes to win..But that was not happening for long time..Every time we come their to cheer you you lost(in recent matches)..We don't really know what's really difficult to you guys to make it..Its your own ground..Normally we were good enough in home series against all the teams in the world..But nowadays its becoming not true. As you said the top order batsmen should put some scores on the board.In that case sana is bit slipping..But we hope he will be doing in the oncoming series..If he can reduce the pressure on him and if he can be little relaxed when he open the bat,then he will be blasting the balls..But he fails to be relax when he comes out for bat.. You seems okay nowadays..The way you batted in the T20 with Nz and Pakistan has improved the hope on u.

  • chandau on September 8, 2009, 4:36 GMT

    I think the batting order needs a change. Udawatte and Dilly to open with Mahela and Sanga following. Then Sanath and Angelo followed by Mahroof Murali Thushara / Nuwan Malinga and Mendis / Bandara. The lower middle order needs some hitting power so why not try Chintaka Jayasinghe / Dilhara Lokuhettige who also bowl medium. Need to look aa few players b4 the WC 2011, as the SA wickets are now more conducive to fast medium and spin as opposed to real fast a few seasons ago. Look at SA team that play 2 spinners now with Duminy as 3rd. ALSO may be we need to consider Zoysa again going by his performances for SSC in domestic scene. Dilhara Fernando blows hot & cold despite being one of the more experienced fastmen around. Where is Ishara Amarasinghe the other 140kmph bowler tho Prasad is nearly as quick, with some hitting ability.

  • gamer007 on September 8, 2009, 4:37 GMT

    India will bring back sanath into form. That one match should be sufficient for him.

  • Sampath_KCS on September 8, 2009, 5:50 GMT

    Very good comment by Mahela. Yes its after all the individuals decision. Sanath Has been a marvelous cricketer over the years for Srilanka ,who single handed won matches for the country. I saw recently that he's been named as the Best Ever ODI Cricketer by one of Wisden writers. Its true. He has revolutionized the world cricket with little Kalu & it has given a big boost for the game to get popular. After his arrival only we saw the emerging of aggressive batsmen like Gilcrists, Shewags, Peitersons & Macculums. We all love him & we all know that he is trying his best to give 100% to the team. But there are good times & bad times. If he had hit that shot he got out in the second T20 about 10 years ago the ball would have ended at Kettarama temple. His quick reflections are no more there.He has to understand the reality. His heart & mind says yes, but legs & hands don't move accordingly. He has to make a Glorious retirement until the selectors decide his destiny.

  • IanJF on September 8, 2009, 6:19 GMT

    I like the final word "Our knack of getting it together in big tournaments"... SL ranked No 2 in Tests and 7 in ODIs speaks of dominance & in-consistency in the same breath. Its high time to put all words/plans into solid limited overs action now. As for Sanath Jayasuriya, he will have to recall 2 decades of a legendary cricketing career to overcome this trot. He has done it before & he still can !!

  • V.GOMES on September 8, 2009, 6:42 GMT

    I have one word for your question "Udawatte". Love to see Udawatte get a steady stint at the opening slot. Yes he is young and cocky,.. but sometime you need that kind of attitude and confidence. As far as his 'temperament' is concerned, I'm sure batting with you and Sanga could really make him mature up fast.

    Perfect future replacement for Sanath.

  • Charm78 on September 8, 2009, 11:40 GMT

    It's always good if you can practice your theoretical approach to the game. It's a proven fact that experience blends with new talent always produce excellent results. There shouldn't be any concern over Sanath's position in the team as he has got enough commitment and the ability to go on until he makes his own decision. What the top order batsman including you could do that try to make runs? Don't forget that world Cup 2011 is in subcontinent where his present makes an immense influence to the team's success. So leave Sanath alone for Cricket sake and help him to get over his poor run.

  • jnanesh on September 8, 2009, 11:43 GMT

    Dear Selectors, I do not understand what sanath jayasurya doing there? still how many years he wants to be there, frankly too much headache for any captain and when you are going to give chance to youngsters to blossom ? big question for SLankan selectors. This is right time to bring new faces.look at ICC ranking SLanks position is No.7 but, still they (selectors) not learned thier mistake and time really running out. Fan

  • PantheraLeo on September 8, 2009, 12:14 GMT

    The problems of SL in the shorter form of the game has been long time coming. We've done well in patches (2007 WC), but, the inconsistency has resulted in even losing the fortress at home. I've always maintained (even while we were winning), that our problems stems from our failure to recognize &/or recreate the basics of team composition that made us World Champions in '96. Simply, we had experience at 6 & 7 (Roshan & Hashan), which allowed the best batsmen (Ara & Arjuna) to play their natural game. This, in turn, gave the top order (Sana & Kalu) a free rein. If they fired, great. If they failed we had Gura to stop the rut (not a natural selection for an ODI team now). Failing which, we had Ara & Arjuna to take us out. On rare occasions we had Roshan/Hashan getting us to safety. All this talk about "Stand up & get counted is fine". But, that "added pressure" has only ruined careers for newcomers at 6/7, curtailed natural game of Mahela & Sanga and put even more pressure on Openers.